Social Norms

What We Want You to Be.

“Why can’t you just be what we want you to be?” (Martian Child 2007)

The above is a quote from my favorite movie. It is asked of the main character and he then realizes something that causes the film to barrel into a climax. It’s great, it truly is. The thing is though, that’s my life. It’s about being a socially acceptable person. I’ve heard those words before. “Emily, why is it so hard for you to just be what we want you to be?” My parents have never said it. Never. But other adults have. Or a personal favorite is “Why must you be so difficult?” I never have an answer. I usually just shrug and reply with a standard “I dunno.” That is life for the weird kid. The socially awkward human being. It is chalk full of other human beings, supposedly normal ones saying in a pinched up way “Why can’t you just be what we want you to be?” But please tell me, what is the fun in that? What is good about that? Yes, this is America. Grow up in a nice suburban neighborhood, white picket fence. A mom,  a dad, a dog. Ya know, the American dream. Be born, conform, be normal. I had a shrink once who called my idiosyncrasies “quirks” Puh- leez. That was just her nice way of saying “Kid, you’re a freak.” But I was okay with it.  No one who is brilliant, was EVER normal. Not a single person. It is physically impossible to be brilliant, driven, and strangely compassionate without some sort of crazy inside of you. So that’s why you can’t just be what they won’t you to be. It’s why you shouldn’t just put a smile on your face and be a “happy go lucky little gap kid.” (Also Martian Child) It takes a certain amount of brilliance to not be normal. Try it. You might just realize how extraordinary it is.

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